For the second year in succession, Jim Bolger stood in the winner's circle after the Dewhurst with a two-year-old son of Galileo who had maintained an unbeaten five-race record and confirmed himself the best of his generation in Europe. But given that New Approach's predecessor was Teofilo who failed to appear in public again, it is to be hoped that the action replay does not extend into next season.
But for the chestnut, so far, so good, although at the half-way stage of yesterday's Group One, backers of the 6-4 favourite may not have been so sure. As Dark Angel, attended by Raven's Pass and Luck Money, took the field along, Kevin Manning was working hard to keep New Approach in contention, in sharp contrast to the from-the-front dominance of his previous four races.
But although it took the colt six of the seven furlongs to get to the front, once there he was never going to cede the position, responding gamely to Manning's urgings as Fast Company reduced the arrears to half a length with a spirited late thrust. Raven's Pass kept going to take third.
As he had been before winning the National Stakes at the Curragh last month, New Approach had been ponied, US-style, to the start by a stablemate, Metamorphosis, an appropriate enough name given the change in the star's modus operandi. Bolger accepted responsibility for the closeness of the call.
"We'd been concentrating on settling him at home, with Derbys in mind for next year," he said. "We rather overdid the lobbing and loitering and it almost cost us this race. It may have been a tardy looking display, but he was half asleep and we'll be well capable of waking him up for the Guineas. He's tough and hardy as well as talented, and I was never worried."
Nor was Manning. "The further he went the better he felt," he said, "and he went about his business once I gave him a little flick." The stewards considered the encouragement to be more than that and imposed a five-day ban for excessive use of the whip.
New Approach, who runs in Bolger's colours but in whom Sheikh Mohammed has a 50 per cent stake, is favourite for the 2,000 Guineas and Derby, but the three who chased him home yesterday will be back for another crack at him on the Rowley Mile in May. By then Fast Company, owned by Sheikh Mohammed's son Hamdan, will be in the Godolphin livery. "He's progressive and he looks like a serious Guineas contender," said his current trainer, Brian Meehan. "It's been an absolute pleasure to have him."
In the case of Raven's Pass, fears about the rain-softened going, rendered tacky by the drying effects of yesterday's bright sunshine, proved justified. "He was the last one off the bridle but he hated that ground," said trainer John Gosden. "But we were thrilled, and we'll be back."
Last year there were most ambitious plans for Teofilo who was wholly owned by Bolger. This time the Co Carlow trainer was more circumspect, saying: "We know what a thrill racegoers would get from a Triple Crown challenge, but with Teofilo I was able to call the shots."
There was another double in the afternoon's other top-level contest, the Champion Stakes, once again won by a Christophe Lemaire-ridden challenger from France. Last year it was Pride, this time Literato, who prevailed by a short-head from the Derby runner-up, Eagle Mountain. It was a first win in England for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget. "He's only a little horse," he said of the grey three-year-old, "but he has the biggest heart."
Despite its name, the 10-furlong contest is increasingly overshadowed by other end-of-season prizes, including next weekend's Breeders' Cup. Literato is champion of nothing.
Cesarewitch winner Leg Spinner brought joy to those Manchester punters holding the single winning Scoop 6 ticket, worth a record dividend of £1,519,301. The 2,170,430 who started the afternoon in hope had been whittled down to 52 before the marathon contest, the final leg of the pool bet.Reuse content